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Why Has Cricket Never Really Taken Off in the US?

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USA flag
©Reuters
 

The United States is home to millions of sports fans, with football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer being among the most popular sports. Soccer is the most recent sport to develop a strong following in the US but other sports, popular around the world, have yet to be fully adopted. Cricket is a good example and despite being popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, South Africa, Pakistan, and West Indies, it has never really taken off in the states during modern times.

The Basics of Cricket

Cricket is a sport contested between two teams. The basis of the game, in all formats, is for the team who scored the most runs to win the match. Each team has the opportunity to bat (like batting in baseball) and bowl (like pitching in baseball) and the three main formats of cricket are five day matches, one day matches, and Twenty20 matches. The length of the matches is different and that results in several styles of play. For example, you are likely to see more players attempting to hit big shots in a Twenty20 match than you are in a five-day match. Cricket relies heavily on statistics, with the number of runs scored and wickets taken by bowlers recorded in addition to the number of deliveries faced, the number of overs bowled and much more. This information is used to analyse the best players and teams in the world.

Baseball

One of the major reasons why cricket has never really taken off in the United States is because of the rise of baseball. If we go back to the mid-19th century, cricket was one of the most popular sports in America, but the expansion of baseball came at the expense of cricket. The two sports are similar, and it would be difficult for them to coexist at the same level of professional baseball in the US today. There are many reasons given as to why baseball prevailed at the expense of cricket. When playing cricket in its purest form, the match can last for up to five days and for the average American sports fan, that is too long. The simpler rules of baseball when it first started to grow in the US were easier to understand than the rules of cricket. Baseball could be played easily on most fields whereas cricket has always required a pitch, with a prepared wicket and that made it difficult to set up a game quickly.

Money

Many of the top cricketers made the move to play baseball. The skill set to play the games at the highest level was similar and that made it easy for those who wanted to switch from cricket to baseball. Marketing played a role in the rise of baseball and as more money filtered into the sport, more people wanted to play baseball rather than cricket. As baseball became more lucrative, players switched permanently to play baseball and that left a gaping hole in cricket rosters.

Potential Revival of Cricket

There have been many stories of a potential cricket revival in the United States. The fact online sports betting is being legalized in several states means sports fans have access to cricket betting markets. Using a cricket betting app, there are hundreds of betting opportunities in just one cricket match. From betting on the teams to the performance of the players, the variety of betting markets is fantastic and live cricket betting is hugely popular around the world.

So, could we be about to see a revival for cricket in the US? Cricket is always going to struggle to compete with baseball in the United States, but it could yet emerge as a leading sport if there is enough investment and marketing.

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